Silver Line delayed, failed to meet all criteria

MCLEAN, Va. (WJLA) - There has been talk that there might be another delay to the Metro line that will extend to Reston and eventually Dulles International Airport. The $5.6 billion line was originally set to open in December.

According to the Airports Authority, there were several problems – including building water leaks, elevator and escalator problems, and performance issues with the automatic train control system. That's the same system that failed Metro back in 2009 during the horrific Red Line crash that claimed nine lives.

The Silver Line is designed to decrease traffic congestion on Northern Virginia roads while spurring economic development, and some are anxious to ride these rails.

Stephanie Trowell has been enduring the transit line delays. Once it opens, it will cut her commute in half.

“I'm disappointed because I thought it was opening in December and then they pushed it back to March and now I'm hearing it's going a little further,” Trowell says.

“It's going to be super when it opens,” says Shane Ratcliff, a restaurant manager. “It's going to help our weekend business tremendously and probably help our evening business tremendously. It will make a big difference.“

“It's an overrun timewise and Metro could certainly use the money, so they need to get their act together and finish this thing soon,” says Barry Tozer.

But for other riders, safety is the first priority.

"I don't care if there's 20 delays -- just make sure it's done right and people are safe; that's the number one priority," said Metro rider Myshel. "It might cost them more money, but just make sure it's done right for the safety of people."

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority issued the following statement Monday on the status of construction on Phase 1 of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project:

"The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority have concluded a review of the Silver Line Phase 1 Substantial Completion Submission from Dulles Transit Partners, and determined the contractor has not yet met the contract requirements for substantial completion.

The contract requires the submission to meet criteria in 12 different areas. Seven of the 12 areas were determined to be deficient. Examples of problem areas include:
• Failure to deliver certificates of occupancy for almost 20 wayside buildings, including stations, power substations and the tunnel;
• Performance issues with the Automatic Train Control System that prevent WMATA from beginning Operational Readiness Testing;
• Failure to fully correct defects that impact operations, including track gage problems;
• Elevator and escalator problems, and water leaks in buildings;
• Incomplete documentation for testing requirements and safety/security verifications.

The Airports Authority has instructed DTP to provide a plan and date of conclusion for addressing the outstanding items as quickly as possible. We will work closely with DTP, WMATA and our other partners to monitor progress and assure that all contractual obligations are satisfied.

Substantial completion is a major milestone in the process of advancing the project to WMATA’s Operational Readiness Testing, safety certification and finally revenue service. After determining operational readiness, WMATA has up to 90 days to conduct further testing and setting the date for revenue service.

During the 90-day period, the Tri-State Oversight Committee and the Federal Transit Administration will conduct reviews.

Phase 1 of the Silver Line runs from East Falls Church to the eastern edge of Reston with four stops in Tysons Corner.”